McClellan Park celebrates base closure milestone

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The former McClellan Air Force Base in California, now known as McClellan Park, celebrated a base closure milestone Aug. 27.

Officials from the Air Force Real Property Agency and the County of Sacramento hosted a ceremony marking the first time in the nation the military funded an early transfer with privatized remediation project at a National Priority List site.

"The transfer of this parcel at McClellan AFB to Sacramento County is a huge step forward for expediting the cleanup and redevelopment of the once-booming area," California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a statement about the event. "Not only will the environmental cleanup be completed three years ahead of time, but also when completed, the business park will bring more than 1,000 new jobs to the area, giving a boost to the local economy." 

The early transfer required the approval of the governor, the Environmental Protection Agency and the California EPA. The community-inspired deal transfers a 62-acre industrialized parcel with high redevelopment potential. It results in an expected 1,200 jobs and $600,000 per year in increased tax revenues for the region.

Officials at the ceremony held at McClellan Park said they were excited about the project because it establishes a template for additional land transfers here and at other defense National Priority List sites around the country.

"The Air Force is wildly enthusiastic about this project," said Kathryn Halvorson the director of the Air Force Real Property Agency. "The Air Force's commitment to clean up McClellan AFB has not changed. Who provides the cleanup has changed, and we think it makes a lot of good sense to get the land into the hands of the developer through Sacramento County."

Environmental regulators, including the top official for the California EPA and EPA's Region 9 Superfund director, expressed confidence that their role to oversee the cleanup will continue to ensure health protection while moving the property back into reuse quicker.

The ceremony was held in the backyard of the "General's House," once the home for the commanding officer of the Sacramento Air Logistics Center when the base was active from 1938 to 2001. The home is now part of a privately run complex called the Lionsgate Hotel and Conference Center.

The new approach is the collaboration of the Air Force, the County of Sacramento, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, the Regional Water Quality Control Board, the EPA, McClellan Business Park and Sen. Dianne Feinstein. 

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